With keen eyes, Poliarco was the first to spot Skyler. Springing up with an agility that belied his portly figure, he offered a greeting from a distance. Other boys swiftly turned their heads, and upon recognizing Skyler, they promptly sat up from their reclined positions, adopting serious expressions.

“Skyler, Headmaster Karkaroff has noticed us prior to your arrival. I will be helping you while you are here. Please feel free to make yourself at home!” Poliarco awkwardly offered his greeting in a high energy.

In accordance with Karkaroff’s prior directives, the ghost ship ranked among Durmstrang’s most closely guarded secrets. Much like the exact location of Durmstrang’s campus, divulging any information about the ghost ship to outsiders was strictly prohibited.

Therefore, all accompanying students had received stringent orders prior to their arrival at Hogwarts. They were explicitly forbidden from leading individuals from other schools onto the ghost ship and disclosing any details about its structure or operation.

However, the situation took an unexpected turn the day before when Karkaroff reversed his stance. He informed all accompanying students of startling news—that Skyler Malfoy from Hogwarts had been granted the status of Durmstrang’s esteemed guest, allowing her unrestricted access to the ghost ship. No further explanations were offered for this surprising development.

This development left the group of young wizards exchanging uncertain glances, prompting them to speculate on Skyler’s true identity and the rationale behind his newfound status as Durmstrang’s VIP.

Each of them was aware that their principal, Karkaroff, was not easily deceived. To secure the position of Headmaster amid stiff competition required a combination of cunning, strategy, and strength. Skyler, catching Karkaroff’s attention, was evidently not an ordinary individual.

Furthermore, in the two previous ventures, Skyler had demonstrated a level of proficiency in defense and transformation that far surpassed that of seventh-year students. These older students acknowledged his capabilities.

Durmstrang’s educational philosophy had undergone a transformation, aligning more with a school characterized by strict discipline and robust martial training, reminiscent of the military school system in the Muggle world.

The curriculum emphasized combat magic and even permitted the exploration of dark magic to a certain extent. This fostered a school spirit that valued strength and respected the powerful. Faced with Skyler, who displayed the demeanor of a formidable individual, they were even more hesitant to underestimate him.

“Polyarco, is Miss Hohenheim available? Can I meet with her? Why the serious faces? I’m just looking to ask how she feels,” Skyler remarked, puzzled by the somber expressions around him. After all, he was a guest—did the situation call for such gravity?

Among those present, Poliarco was the most acquainted with Skyler. He swiftly traversed the wooden planks connecting the ship and the shore, ushering Skyler onto the deck.

“Eleanor, you say? She’s around, but she’s been a bit under the weather lately or something. She’s been holed up in her room, not answering the door even when I knocked. If she knows it’s you, though, I’m sure she’ll open up. Come on, let me take you to find her!” Poliarco energetically rattled off the words.

Following Poliarco, Skyler descended a staircase.

“The Headmaster has declared you our distinguished guest, granting you access to the entire ship.” He repeated it once again, “Honestly, to outsiders, this ship might seem mysterious, but there’s nothing particularly special inside. It’s not like a Spanish galleon from the sixteenth century. Due to the use of weather magic, the air inside is neither humid nor stuffy…” Polyarco cheerfully provided a constant stream of information as he guided the visitor on board for the first time.

“The hull structure consists of three layers. The first layer is the crew’s bedrooms, which is where our class of students resides… The second layer is the gun cabin, where the magic cannon is activated to defend against enemies. Rumor has it there are six cannons inside, with a range of only 500 meters, but they pack a punch equivalent to a Great Mage’s full blow. However, we’ve never used them, so the rumors remain untested… The third floor serves as a storage area for supplies. Where is it now? Well, it’s been temporarily repurposed as a classroom for our studies this semester and a laboratory for research…” Poliarco explained the structure in detail. Skyler could even see how enthusiastic he became at certain times.

“The captain’s cabin and cockpit are both on the forecastle… The magic to enable water mirror space transfer must also be completed there…”

“Ah, here we are. This is Eleanor’s room.” Poliarco showed a suggestive smile that any man would understand. “You may not know yet, but Eleanor is a very proud person. Despite many purebloods in the school pursuing her, she never makes excuses. Everyone suspects that she doesn’t like men, but I can see that her attitude towards you is very different from others. I think you have a good chance… You know… Come on, brother!”

After saying that, before Skyler could respond, he affectionately patted Skyler’s shoulder and, while making a “good luck” gesture, hurriedly turned around and left.

“Uh, forget it,” Skyler looked at his hurriedly departing figure and had to swallow the words that came to his mouth, wondering if this man had misunderstood something.

After confirming that the door number read “EVH,” Skyler raised his hand and knocked on the door.

“Come in!” Eleanor said hoarsely, sounding a little weak.

Skyler frowned. Her sound was very wrong. Could she really be sick?

Skyler opened the door, and in front of him was a spacious room decorated mainly in pink. There were traces of the Traceless Stretching Spell being released, and women’s products were placed everywhere.

The room was very fragrant, and Skyler recognized that this was Eleanor’s signature fragrance. Don’t get me wrong; it was because Eleanor practiced dark necromancy magic, and her body was stained with the stench of corpses. Eleanor had to use this special alchemical perfume to mask the smell.

The room was a bit dark. A wrinkled white window screen covered the only round porthole on the wall. The sunlight filtered in through the gap, bringing a hint of brightness to the dark room.

Eleanor was lying on the bed, covered with a thick goose feather quilt. Her eyes were tightly closed at the moment, and there was an abnormal flush on her cheeks and neck, with slight beads of sweat on her forehead.

The area above her chest was exposed outside the quilt, and people could see the pink suspender pajamas she was wearing. The low-cut round neck was decorated with white lace, which fully revealed her graceful and slender figure.

I have to say that this scene is indeed a bit tempting and criminal, but at this moment, Skyler’s heart is ringing with alarm bells. He is not a person without self-control, especially when Catalina used a series of rare and unusual Spells at the Christmas ball last time. After almost getting into a big fight with her powerful tactics, he has become deeply wary of the traps that may be hidden behind the beauty.

He had no time to appreciate this moving scene. Instead, he showed a very serious expression, and his brows were knitted together.

Reason told himself that he should turn around and leave immediately to find Polyarko or Karkaroff and let them check on Eleanor’s situation. Still, his intuition told him that if he left like this, he would probably regret it for the rest of his life.

After some consideration, he stood firmly at the door (the door was still open) and said in a deep voice, “Eleanor, it’s me, Malfoy. What’s wrong with you?”

“I…I don’t know… so hot… so thirsty…” Eleanor still closed her eyes, raised her chin with some difficulty, and said, her voice soft, as if she had lost all her strength. Large beads of sweat slid slowly from her chin down her snow-white neck, flowing through the deep ravine that made people think, until they slipped deep into the collar of the high neck of her chest…

Skyler’s lips curled slightly. Having lived through two generations, his mindset was not that of a naive 14-year-old boy. He wouldn’t believe it if the scene before him wasn’t a trap. The question is—

There’s no reason for him and Eleanor to be enemies, so why would she set up a trap to harm him?

Eleanor and herself were both from pure-blood families, with one’s influence rooted in Germany and Switzerland, while the other’s reach was confined to Great Britain.

There was no history of animosity between them and no potential clash of interests. Moreover, from the moment Eleanor chose to betray Walpurgis, they even shared a common enemy. Forming an alliance between the two would only bring benefits without any drawbacks.

If Eleanor intended to harm him for personal reasons, it would be highly inconsistent with her character.

Since Eleanor arrived at Hogwarts, compared to Catalina, who ended up antagonistic, she maintained a demeanor of cold observation and calm assessment. While not entirely indifferent to Skyler, she never displayed any malice.

It was evident that she prioritized family interests and handled matters with composure. Her personal preferences were unlikely to influence her decisions.

Moreover, even if she did have some hidden motive for harming Skyler that she overlooked, it wasn’t as if she was completely ignorant of Skyler’s capabilities.

Alone in the current scenario on Durmstrang’s ghost ship, with Karkaroff and other students present, could she realistically believe she had the ability to act without alerting others?

Considering Karkaroff had entered an unbreakable vow with Skyler, Skyler, familiar with Karkaroff’s character from the original work, deemed it highly improbable for him to turn against him.

As for the other 11 students on board, leaving aside their potential reasons for targeting her, the majority of them lacked the family background and personal strength compared to Eleanor.

Even though they were currently on Durmstrang’s ghost ship, which was docked within Hogwarts’ jurisdiction, the question arose: Was it plausible for them to conspire against her within the confines of Hogwarts?


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Published On: March 27, 2024

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